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Structure and Functions of Areolar Tissue

Areolar Tissue is a common form of loose connective tissue.

1.0 Where in the body is Areolar tissue ?

Areolar tissue is found in many locations around the body.

One important area is the skin (areolar tissue is found in both the dermis and sub-cutaneous layers of the skin - see diagram). The areolar tissue located in the skin binds the outer layers of the skin to the muscles beneath.

Areolar tissue is also found in or around mucous membranes, and around blood vessels, nerves, and the organs of the body.


2.0 The Structure of Areolar tissue

Areolar Tissue is loose connective tissue that consists of a meshwork of collagen, elastic tissue, and reticular fibres - with many connective tissue cells in between the meshwork of fibres.

The fibres that form the mesh structure of areolar tissue include:

  • Collagen Fibres
  • Elastic Fibres
  • Reticular Fibres

The different types of cells embedded within the areolar tissue include:

  • Fibroblasts
  • Plasma Cells
  • Adipocytes
  • Mast Cells, and
  • Macrophages.

All of the above (fibres and cells) are embedded in a semi-fluide ground substance - which is similar to the ground substance in which the chondrocytes arelocated in hyaline cartilage tissue.

Above: Diagram of Areolar Tissue

3.0 The Functions of Areolar tissue

Areolar tissue binds skin to the muscles beneath.
This loose connective tissue also forms a link between organs - while also enabling a high degree of movement between adjacent body parts.

The key functions of areolar tissue can be summarised as providing:

  • Support
  • Strength, and
  • Elasticity.
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